(TODO: Put a cute picture of me with all my partners here.)
Some people have an idea of polyamory that it’s just an excuse for infidelity and fecklessness. It couldn’t be more different.
Going on a date with a new partner is something I do with support from my existing partners. Not just support in the sense of ‘they’re okay with it’, but they’re there for me before the date and after with snuggles and kisses, and during the date with a safety call if needed.
Of course it isn’t always easy. Romantic love, of any kind, can bring untold happiness — but also untold misery. Poly is about learning to work through the bad times when they come, so that the good times can be even better — with an emphasis on ‘learning’! There’s an expectation in (serial) monogamy that everyone just knows how to do it, in part simply because it’s the cultural default; Everyone who’s done poly knows that nobody’s a natural at doing relationships. And the problems that arise in poly (jealousy, in particular) can arise in a monogamous relationship even if neither partner is cheating.
This isn’t to promote poly as being unconditionally, unquestionably, universally better than other relationship styles. It’s definitely not a lifestyle for everyone, and not everyone should be poly. But poly people have been forced to confront all kinds of relationship issues and work out real ways to deal with them, and we share this knowledge with one another! To that extent, although not everyone should be poly, I think it’d be useful for almost everyone to read the standard poly guidebooks because poly ideas about resolving conflicts are useful in any relationship.
There’s precedent for this way of thinking in other areas of life: see the essay ‘Lean into the pain’ by Aaron Swartz. The experiences of jealousy, envy, wanting things that hurt others, etc. all hurt; so instead of shying away from them, we do them more often, until they don’t hurt any more.
‘I’ve spent the last few years building up an immunity to jealousy.’
That’s the poly philosophy. It’s not denying that negative feelings can happen when more than one two people are together, but rather learning to deal with those feelings in a positive way.
When things are bad with one partner, I can ask my other partners for advice, support, a shoulder to cry on, someone to cuddle who cares about me and, like me, genuinely wants everything to work out for everyone.